Monday, December 17, 2007


I was shopping through the markdown bin at the Scrapbook store the other day and I eavesdropped on a conversation between two women at the counter. THe store was clearing out stock preparing for a move. Everything was slashed at least 60 % off the regular price. THe store owner was telling about her former father in law who was a button salesman, and had a WONDERFUL demo box. When He died, her mother in law gave the button collection to her. The woman she was talking with was quite a bit older, and had been well-traveled and had buttons from all over the world.

That brought back a memory to me. When I was a little girl, we moved every two years, as Dad was in the NAVY, and we went overseas and back and up the coast and down the coast. We drove from San DIego to San Fransisco which was our sailing point. We would then come back into San Fransisco and then either drive up to Washington or Down to San Diego, depending on the duty station.

We usually had to spend about a week in the Bay area waiting to get the car out of the import yard, and then gather all our baggage, and our express shipments, and then hit the road. Aunt Dutch lived in Salinas, Calif. which is just down the coast from San Fransisco, so we always stayed there with her until Dad was able to get the car, get it ready to drive, load it up and check out.

Aunt Dutch was a very sweet old lady just like you would picture a little old lady in the early 50's. (she had to be all of 50!) OLD huh? Her only child was the same age as my Mother, so there were no little girl things in the house for us to play with.

Phyllis and I had to make do with what we could find. One of the things that we always got to play with was her sewing supplies. She had a HUGE glass jar full of buttons. Buttons of all sizes and colors, buttons of all shapes and material.
We would dump the button out on the floor and then try to match them up, the one that could come up with the most '4's of a kind, would win. We would then sew them together, so Aunt Dutch would know what matched what. The buttons were always a wonder to me, Where did they come from, what is a FROG? Does a toggle count if you dont have the other side? Plastic was not a factor then, as most of the buttons were either metal or shell or wood or glass.

Now I am much older than My Aunt was when I played with her button jar, and I too have a button stash. Mine is inan old Currier and Ives cookie tin from a Christmas long long ago. When ever I am getting rid of clothing that the kids had outgrown, or worn out, I ALWAYS cut the buttons off and put them in the can. Now mind you when ever I MADE something new, I always bought the thread, zippers, and Buttons the same time that I bought the material and the pattern, so I never used the old buttons.

Now I am in a point in my life where I could be doing something with all of these old and unusual buttons and as I dig through the tin looking for something, I notice the buttons that were on DOnnas first dress, or on her halloween Costume. I find TIms' cowboy shirt buttons, I find Jim's peacoat buttons, and soforth.

Just after I came back from the scrapbook store, I started googling buttons, and found tons of sites where you can find buttons of all shapes sizes, colors and materials. Sites full of old antique buttons, sites full of new plastic or glass buttons, And all of this brings me right back to Aunt Dutch and wondering what ever happened to that huge jar of buttons? I wonder if Gerald Edward knew what the value of that Jar was? Not in money, but in memories...probably not. Sigh!

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